Deinstitutionalization began in the 1960s with the closure of beds in psychiatric hospitals and continued for decades until more than 80 per cent of beds in Canada had been closed. The plan was sold to the public on the premise that people could live more productive lives in the community and the introduction of new drugs paved the way for this major mental health reform to happen.

The plan fell apart, however, due to the government’s failure to set up community supports. The mental health clinics and supportive housing programs that were to be opened never materialized and the outreach workers, nurses and social workers to help former patients were never hired.

Sixty years later, those services are still not here, and as a result, the numbers of homeless have grown. An estimated 70 per cent of homeless people we see on our streets today have some type of mental illness.

Two researchers who studied London’s temporary shelter program last year say moving the sites to edge of the city will uproot and isolate homeless Londoners, flying in the face of their research at the shelters.

Building those shelters at golf courses on the city’s periphery pulls people out of their communities and away from important resources, including the ability to access friends, drugs and services, the duo said.

Jodi Hall, a Fanshawe College professor, and Tracy Smith-Carrier, an associate professor at Royal Roads University in Victoria, say the move doesn’t align with their research of last winter’s WISH (Winter Interim Solution to Homelessness) program that included pop-up shelters in McMahen Park and in a parking lot at York and Colborne streets.

“Moving people away from the core of the city, where many of them have been living, will be difficult for people. They will be away from necessary supports and resources, and possibly away from the community they have developed. This will exacerbate the sense of isolation that people deprived of housing can often experience,” Hall and Smith-Carrier wrote in an e-mailed response to questions.

A report more than 10 years in the making on food security and food sovereignty for First Nations across Canada reveals some disturbing findings: almost half of First Nations families have difficulty putting enough food on the table, and families with children are affected to a greater degree.

And the coronavirus pandemic over the last 18 or so months has added to the concerns.

In 1845, Friedrich Engels in his “The Condition of the Working Class in England” showed how the living and working conditions experienced by English workers sent them prematurely to the grave, arguing that those responsible for these conditions — ruling authorities and the bourgeoisie — were committing social murder.

In the current era, researchers and advocates call such differences in health outcomes between social classes health inequalities. These researchers and advocates identify the living and working conditions which cause some to get sick and die while others stay healthy and well and link these differences to public policy decisions in the area of wages, social assistance and other benefits, and housing policy. The emphasis upon the health effects of income inequality found in many government reports, research studies, and newspaper columns illustrates this concern.

Doug Ford’s government is looking to contract out “employment services” for people on social assistance and one of the few vendors eligible for the contract is Maximus, a Virginia-based firm linked to Republican welfare cuts.

Maximus, which made millions off US government contracts thanks to the former Trump administration’s overhaul of America’s social safety net, recently lobbied the Ontario government to assist its “transformation” of “employment services” for Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipients

A unanimous city council has asked City of Greater Sudbury administration [Ed. – the resolution was characterized by Mayor Brian Bigger, when he called the question, as a “direction”] to come up with a plan to house vulnerable residents before the area is plunged into the depths of winter.

The decision came at the close of tonight’s city council meeting and followed more than three hours of debate.

This debate began during the Oct. 12 city council meeting, during which homelessness consultant Iain De Jong’s presentation on the city’s homeless encampment hit the meeting’s three-hour mark, at which time city council voted against extending proceedings.

Inclusionary zoning policies can help build affordable housing units in cities that are experiencing high volumes of development. In major urban centres, both the rental and real estate market are becoming increasingly unaffordable to low and middle-income earners. The policy helps redistribute the benefits developers gain from hot real estate markets to the groups that are being pushed out of cities.

Municipal governments prefer inclusionary zoning policies because they do not require substantial financial investments as compared to building public housing units. Since municipal governments often have limited resources and may not receive enough support from upper levels of government, inclusionary zoning policies allow them to build more affordable housing without putting increased pressure on taxpayers.